Indonesia Govt Plays Down Malaysia’s Alleged Plagiarism of ‘Halo, Halo Bandung’ Song

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Social media platforms have recently been abuzz with a YouTube video featuring a song titled ‘Helo Kuala Lumpur’ as it was suspected to be a plagiarism of the Indonesian song ‘Halo-Halo Bandung’. The animated video was uploaded by the Malaysian YouTube channel, Lagu Kanak Tv.

The Indonesian Foreign Affairs Ministry stated in response that it was not a sensitive case between the two countries.

“It is done by individuals, not by the government [of Malaysia]. So the Indonesian government doesn’t need to react too much about it,” said the Foreign Affairs Ministry’s spokesperson Lalu Muhamad Iqbal in Jakarta, on Thursday, September 14, 2023.

The Indonesian song created by Ismail Marzuki was allegedly claimed by the Malaysian YouTube channel for its similar lyrics and melody. The video sparked protests from social media users across Indonesia as this is not the first time that Malaysia has claimed Indonesian cultural products. Previously, Malaysia claimed an Indonesian song titled ‘Rasa Sayange’.

“[Malaysian] Prime Minister Anwar Ibrahim said that if someone doesn’t understand that ‘Rasa Sayange’ is an Indonesian song, it means they don’t know history,” Iqbal said.

Several years ago, the Indonesian people were annoyed and protested after this regional song from Maluku had been claimed by some Malaysians since 2007.

In early September this year, Anwar said that ‘Rasa Sayange’ belonged to Indonesia alone. “Google knows the history. We know it comes from Indonesia, but Melayu Rantau considers ‘Rasa Sayange’ as a shared culture,” said the PM in Jakarta, on Tuesday, September 5, 2023.

Therefore, Iqbal reiterated that the Malaysian government’s current stance on ‘Halo, Halo Bandung’ was the same in that they appreciated Indonesian products.

“This is a private matter. [The plagiarized song] is done by individuals, not the government. So there’s no need for the Indonesian government to be too reactive about this,” Iqbal concluded.